Born today in 1953 in Northampton, England, Alan Moore grew up to be a giant. His impact on comics is so vital and apparent that even reporting on his accomplishments feels both daunting and profoundly unnecessary. Widely regarded as the best comics writer of all time, Moore's influence is without question; his presence an articulate line of demarcation carving up the medium into two decidedly different eras. Moore is a juggernaut, monolithic in both influence and intractability, with a true legacy even greater than his supposed one.
As the Peanuts' 65th Anniversary year winds down, Peanuts-related news seems to be ramping up. The Peanuts Movie hits theaters this weekend, and every preview and trailer manages to look better than the last; Charles Schulz's birthday is coming up on November 26th; the United States Postal Service unveiled a new Forever stamp; there's a new tribute book out on the stands, which we reviewed yesterday; and Charlie Brown and the gang even appeared in the seventh-inning stretch of Game 2 of the World Series.
When it comes to Peanuts news, though, Fantagraphics is taking the crown. The curators of the complete Peanuts library have three new hardcover releases coming up just in time for the holidays: Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, the full-color Peanuts Every Sunday: 1961-1965, and The Complete Peanuts 1997-1998, and all three are worthy of addition to your collections.
Of all the artists who've made a permanent impact on comics, Jim Steranko did so the quickest, solving the puzzle in the fewest moves. Born on this day in 1938, he's had many occupations --- artist, writer, magician, escapologist, musician, designer, publisher, scholar, innovator, raconteur, living legend, and Twitter celebrity. His life and art are so singular that only one word seems to describe him: Steranko.
Koren Shadmi is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been seen in the likes of Wired and The New York Times, and whose comics are apparently known elsewhere in the world, but he's yet to have his big breakthrough in American comics. Hopefully that changes with his new book The Abaddon, from Z2 Comics, a haunting and exquisite trip into sex and death, memory and torment.
On October 2nd, 1950, Charles Schulz's Peanuts debuted in nine newspapers for United Features Syndicate. Fifty years later, it concluded with just shy of eighteen thousand strips published in thousands of papers, with the final installment appearing one day after Schulz passed away.
Between those two loci, Peanuts begat a billion-dollar media empire, the modern American comic strip, and a legacy of progressiveness, honesty, and inclusion that endures today. If Peanuts isn't definitively the greatest comic strip of all time, it's probably the most influential, and certainly the most successful, forever altering the dominant styles and subject matter of the funny pages.
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
A troubled young woman discovers that the mental problems she's been struggling with all her life are actually a form of telepathy, and that there are others with gifts similar to hers. The setup is very familiar, but in They're Not Like Us, our hero Syd discovers that the group that takes her in is a little different: they're entitled, narcissistic jerks.
As endemic as violence is to mainstream comics, it's rare when you see a representation of it that inspires an appropriate level of shock. That's to be expected in superhero comics, where the gap between art and reality is wider, but even in books that maintain a closer relationship with the truth there are only a few books that portray violence in an un-stylized, un-sensationalized manner that still conveys how jarring it really is.
There are some great examples, from Scalped to the work of Johnny Craig (still a little sensationalized, but he gets a pass) to almost everything Garth Ennis has ever written. Even among that company, what David Lapham does in Stray Bullets is unique.
Glenn Head has been a fixture in the underground and alternative scenes since the 80s, contributing to legendary anthologies like R. Crumb's Weirdo, Zero Zero, and his own Snake Eyes (co-edited with Kaz). He's not as well-known as many of the other names that even the moderately-educated alt-fan like me can rattle off, because he doesn't have that singular, long-form work that the others do. In Chicago from Fantagraphics, Head finally has his signature piece.
Born on August 30th, 1943, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Robert Crumb is one of the most influential and divisive comics artists of all time, with as many followers as detractors. So which Crumb is the real one? The artistic genius or the pervert?
In Curt Pires and David Rubin's The Fiction for Boom Studios, a magical book makes the imaginary real, and two lifelong friends re-enter the fantastic world it contains in search of two more of their group who disappeared into The Fiction. The "Step Into a Good Book" library program might want to work out a new campaign.